Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce leads winners at Doha Diamond League (video)

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce
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Jamaican Olympic and world champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce held on to win a 100m race at the first of 14 Diamond League meets this season in Doha, Qatar, on Friday.

The triple 2013 world champion Fraser-Pryce clocked 11.13 seconds into a -.8m/s headwind, ahead of late-charging Nigerian Blessing Okagbare (11.18) and Jamaican Kerron Stewart (11.25).

U.S. champion English Gardner was last in 11.57. Gardner also ran 11.50 in Kingston, Jamaica, on Saturday after being the fourth fastest woman in the world last year at 10.85 seconds. Fraser-Pryce’s biggest rivals from the Olympics and World Championships, American Carmelita Jeter, the Ivory Coast’s Murielle Ahoure and Jamaican Veronica Campbell-Brown were not in Doha.

Fraser-Pryce was joined by other world champions winning sprints, David Oliver in the 110m hurdles (13.23) and LaShawn Merritt in the 400m (44.44, matching his world-leading time from the Drake Relays two weeks ago).

Oliver beat a field that included the other medalists from last year’s World Championships — Russian Sergey Shubenkov (second, 13.38) and U.S. champion Ryan Wilson (fifth, 13.52).

Merritt bounced back after running 44.86 in Kingston on Saturday, when he lost to the Dominican Republic’s Luguelin Santos. Santos, the Olympic silver medalist and world bronze medalist, was fifth in Doha in 44.94.

Jamaican Olympic and world medalist Warren Weir was upset in the 200m by countryman Nickel Ashmeade, 20.13 to 20.31. American Curtis Mitchell, the world bronze medalist, was sixth in 20.76. Usain Bolt, who hasn’t raced yet this year, isn’t scheduled to compete until June.

Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba, who broke indoor 1500m and 3000m world records in February, faded to sixth in the 3000m after leading going into the final lap.

Russian Olympic champion Ivan Ukhov won a spirited high jump competition that included three London 2012 medalists, clearing a world-leading 2.41m to tie the Diamond League record. The field was missing Ukraine’s Bohdan Bondarenko, who made attempts to break the 2.45m world record last year.

New Zealand shot putter Valerie Adams, who has captured every major outdoor championship since 2007, won her 47th straight competition.

The Diamond League schedule continues in Shanghai on May 18, when Allyson Felix is scheduled to make her season debut.

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South Korea’s first gold medalist of 2018 PyeongChang Olympics to compete for China

Lim Hyo-Jun
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Lim Hyo-Jun, a short track speed skater who won South Korea’s first gold medal of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, has been cleared to skate for China and was reportedly named to the national team Monday.

Lim, who won the 1500m on the first day of medal competition at the PyeongChang Games, began the process of switching to China after a June 2019 incident where he pulled down a teammate’s trousers, leaving him standing, exposed, in front of female teammates.

Lim, the 2019 World overall champion, was banned from the team for a year and later found guilty of sexual harassment before the verdict was overturned on appeal.

It was reported in March 2021 that Lim was in the process of trying to gain Chinese nationality to compete at the Beijing Winter Olympics, but Lim was not cleared to switch by the International Skating Union until this July. His Chinese name is Lin Xiaojun.

Another star South Korean skater, triple 2006 Olympic gold medalist Ahn Hyun-Soo, switched to Russia after not making the 2010 Olympic team. He then won three golds for the host nation as Viktor Ahn at the 2014 Sochi Games.

China’s national team for the upcoming season reportedly does not include veterans Wu Dajing, the nation’s lone gold medalist across all sports at the 2018 Olympics, and Fan Kexin, a three-time Olympic medalist.

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Brigid Kosgei, world record holder, to miss London Marathon

Brigid Kosgei
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World record holder Brigid Kosgei withdrew before Sunday’s London Marathon due to a right hamstring injury that has bothered her for the last month.

“My training has been up and down and not the way I would like to prepare to be in top condition,” was posted on Kosgei’s social media. “We’ve decided it’s best I withdraw from this year’s race and get further treatment on my injuries in order to enter 2023 stronger than ever.”

Kosgei, a 28-year-old Kenyan mother of twins, shattered the world record by 81 seconds at the 2019 Chicago Marathon. She clocked 2:14:04 to smash Brit Paula Radcliffe‘s record from 2003.

Since, Kosgei won the 2020 London Marathon, took silver at the Tokyo Olympics, placed fourth at the 2021 London Marathon and won this past March’s Tokyo Marathon in what was then the third-fastest time in history (2:16:02).

Ethiopian Tigist Assefa moved into the top three by winning the Berlin Marathon last Sunday in 2:15:37.

The London Marathon women’s field includes Kenyan Joyciline Jepkosgei, a winner in New York City (2019) and London (2021), and Yalemzerf Yehualaw, who was the Ethiopian record holder until Assefa won in Berlin.

The men’s field is headlined by Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele, the second-fastest male marathoner in history, and Brit Mo Farah, a four-time Olympic champion on the track.

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